It was getting late and he still wasn't home... Jessica looked out of the living room window, her forehead pressed against the glass, as she peered down the road. The darkened neighborhood was quiet. All the kids had gone in for the night. Worry began to set in as she paced from one room to another.
“Why hasn’t he called?” She wondered glancing over at the clock once again.
Jason and Jessica had been married for three months. It was the happiest three months Jessica had felt in a long time. Not only was she married to a prominent young attorney who she had fallen head over heels for when they first met attending Princeton but things had finally managed to turn around with her family as well. Her father seemed to be doing much better after his heart attack; especially now that her brother Jackson had come home to mend the rift that had separated them for the last decade.
Once the Tramane family had come together again, Jackson brought an addition to the family. Not only did he marry an amazing woman but they brought the beautiful Miss. Summer Grace into this world. Jess loved being an aunt. What she didn’t love was that her brother lived in New York, not exactly visiting distance from her Southern California home. But being the loving aunt meant weekly calls and video chats until she was able to fly back to see them in person.
When they got the call that Jax had been injured by the hand of a jealous ex-lover everyone thought the worst. The family flew back to New York as soon as they received the news. Jane was a wreck and although everyone was worried for Jackson, they tried to stay strong for his new bride. She had just gone through a difficult pregnancy and had recently discovered she was expecting once again. The stress from the shooting took its toll on everyone, including Will, Jackson’s childhood friend. It was during that time that Jess and Jason had postponed their wedding. Jason had been very understanding and supported his fiancé through the whole ordeal. Jessica felt more love for him than ever seeing that through thick and thin Jason would be there for support.
It took a few weeks before her brother was able to move out of ICU. Once he was in the clear of immediate danger and everyone was able to relax a bit more Jessica knew their wedding date would have to be moved out until who knows when if they were to continue with the original plans for the large wedding they had been preparing for. That was just too long and with everything that had happened recently it was proven that life was full of unexpected events. Instead of having the huge wedding at the country club the couple decided to have a quick ceremony just the two of them in front of a judge. For the couple, it had been the most spontaneous and romantic thing they had done together.
They were truly in love and had finally become husband and wife. Never wanting to be separated from one another as any newlywed, they tried to make it home every evening at a decent hour so they could share a nice dinner together. On the occasion when one or the other had to stay late at the firm they would always call the other to make aware of their plans. So it was odd that tonight when Jason had not arrived home at his usual 5:45 pm that Jessica had not received a call or even a text from him. Glancing at her watch and making her way back over to peer out the window for what seemed like the umpteenth time she began to really become worried.
“Almost eight,” she announced to the empty room. Once again dialing Jason’s number trying to reach him but reaching his voice mail instead, Jessica decided to try the office again. The after-hours business recorder switched on and she hastily entered his extension number, trying the operator and a few of Jason’s colleagues whom she knew, but there was still no answer. The only other option at this point was to take a drive over there. Perhaps he was having car trouble and his cell phone battery had died. Or maybe there was an important case and they had been locked away in the conference room trying to find evidence for the case and had lost track of time. Please let it be anything other than something serious like an accident.
The drive had seemed to have been hours when in reality it had only taken Jessica twenty minutes to reach Reeves & MacGreggor Associates. Just taking a glance around there were no familiar cars in sight. Where is he? Jess thought as she slowly drove through the parking lot. Deciding to head back home Jessica pulled her car back onto the road and headed for the freeway as her mind was going in circles trying to think of anything Jason could have mentioned this morning.
The road leading to the two-story Tudor style home in the suburbs of LA was dark and vacant. Finally pulling into the drive Jessica had the first signs of relief when she realized Jason’s car parked in the garage as the door slowing rolled open. Rushing inside the only thought was of her husband and the fact that he was finally home safe.
“Jason,” she called out frantically, running through the kitchen in search of her husband. “Jason!”
After no sign of him in the living room or his office the next best option to check would be upstairs in their bedroom. Perhaps he had just arrived and was still changing out of his suit.
“Jason!” Jessica called out as she crossed the landing from the stairs to the large door to the bedroom that was slightly ajar.
Jason walked out of the adjoining restroom wearing his robe, drying off his hair with a bath towel. “Jess,” he announced a little surprised as his wife ran to him, instantly wrapping his arms around her as she flung herself into him. “What’s wrong, honey?”
“Oh Jason, I was so worried about you. Why didn’t you call to let me know you were going to be late?” The tears had started to fall and her voice choked with anguish. “Where were you?”
He shifted slightly causing Jessica to pull back a little to look up at him. Jason looked away not meeting her gaze as a cold chill settled over her body. Something was wrong and immediately women’s intuition kicked in as he dropped his arms from their embrace and walked over to sit on the edge of the bed.
“What? What is it? Tell me Jason.”
With a heavy sigh, still not facing his wife’s inquiring stare he finally spoke.
“I love you but I don’t know how to say this…” The chill spread across her body once again as time seemed to stop, holding her breath awaiting, dreading, his next words. “I’m not going to be able to do this anymore…be with you here. Not all the time anyway,” he added not able to contain the wide grin any longer when he finally looked at Jessica. “Not since they gave me the Andrew Dawson case.”
The fear Jessica had felt had vanished replaced by pure joy and excitement for her husband. Once again running to her husband, hugging him with all the love she had.
“Jason, that’s wonderful!”
“I know, right? When Mark approached me this afternoon with the news, I couldn’t believe it. Do you know what this will mean for me?”
Shrugging away Jason leaped up and began pacing, speaking in more of a rush
“What it can mean for us? Jess, we can have it all. Everything is falling into place just like I knew it would when I set my mind on working for this firm. Honey, if I can pull this off I will be the top dog there. They will have to offer me a partnership once I can prove myself once I win this case. Andrew Dawson! Can you believe it?”
This was extremely good news. Andrew Dawson is huge; being affiliated with his name alone could open doors for you. Jason was right when he said they could have it all. Notoriety not only in business but personal statute with big time players located throughout the world, a fortune to last them a lifetime. It all sounded great. This would mean so much to him, a tremendous accomplishment at his young age. Jessica knew her husband had the ability and skills needed that would take him far and she was so proud to hear Mark and the other partners at Reeves & Mac Greggor took notice also.
“We have to celebrate. Let’s go out tonight. We can order Champaign and eat at that restaurant over on Wilshire that your dad was talking about. Or we can pack a bag and fly to Vegas. Whatever you want, honey. Tonight the sky’s the limit,” he grinned.
Jessica walked over, placing her arms around his shoulders. “Whatever I want, huh?” Starting kisses on his jaw line tickling him as her nose brushed against his ear.
“Mmm, Jess, I think your idea of celebrating sounds a lot better…”
Jason turned his head, taking her mouth over with his tongue, holding her close to him as they let all of their amorous ambitions take hold. All had been forgotten with that single kiss. The excitement changed to a different type of excitement as the newlyweds let the passion engulf them. The fear that had settled in Jessica’s mind and heart now gone, replaced by desire and love. Nothing could stop the spark that lightened up the room….until the phone began to ring.
Breathing heavily, Jason glanced over at his cell. “Sorry, honey, I need to take this.” Picking up his cell, Jason got out of bed and walked out of the room heading to his office downstairs. Jessica on the other hand, still lying on the bed breathless, stared up at the ceiling in disappointment. This was bound to happen, important calls anytime of the day or night and any day of the week. Being a lawyer meant there was always new business that needed handling or new information that couldn’t wait. She would expect the same understanding from Jason so there was no difference. It helped in both knowing what their career duties included. Helped but there was still disappointment.
Jessica decided to go downstairs for a snack. Raising up and reaching for her blouse that had been tossed without regard just moments before, Jess made her way downstairs wondering what she should do with the rest of her evening. It was after nine in CA meaning it was after midnight in NY, so calling Jax to share Jason’s news was out of the question. A smile touched her face as thoughts of her niece drifted across her mind. Summer was such an angelic child, so precious. Jessica fondly touched her abdomen longing for a child of her own to cherish and love…one day…but not too soon. Children were a must, and Jason was well aware of that long before the nuptials. Until then she would spoil her niece instead. Perhaps now would be a good time to use some of that vacation time she still had. Jason is going to be locked away for months working on this case.
Andrew Dawson, big time movie producer, had filed for divorce from his wife of ten years and always used Reese and Mac Greggor Associates for all of his legal requirements. Maureen Dawson, the soon-to-be-ex, had filed her own divorce petition and was rumored to be seeking a large chunk of Dawson’s fortune. If all the gossip and tabloids were true, then she definitely deserves it and then some. A woman scorned, Maureen would no doubt want her husband to pay, and what better way to make him pay then to go after the assets. Poor Maureen…Jessica had met her briefly once while out shopping with her mother. Of course her parents knew the Dawson’s, they knew everyone who rolled in that set. Her father was an important businessman himself and her mother well she was right up there with the rest of the socialite wives. When they had ran into Maureen that one afternoon she was very friendly, even wishing her well on the impending nuptials.
Jessica sat at the breakfast island and wondered how after ten years a couple could drift so far away from the other. Her own parents had been married for thirty years now and seemed to have the same love and affection she admired in them over the years when she was a young girl. This was the type of marriage she wanted for her and Jason. A lifetime together…it wasn’t too much to ask for. It may only be 3 months but Jessica was sure that their marriage would last, which now reminded her of Jason’s behavior earlier. He may have been joking around but for a second there doubt and unease had settled in. “He would have to make up for that one,” she thought. She picked up the apple she decided to snack on and began peeling the skin while in deep thought. There was still the fact that Jason had not answered any of her calls or texts, and why was he so late? Case or no case, they still needed to communicate no matter how busy their work schedule was.
“Is that what you’re having for dinner?”
Jason’s voice startled her from her musings of this evening. “Not very hungry,” she answered. Communication, it was now or never, “Why were you late? You didn’t call…”
“Sorry, I was just so wrapped up in discussing the case with Mark that I lost track of time. I didn’t mean to worry you.” He walked over and took the apple and the paring knife from her hands before taking her hand. “Why don’t we go back upstairs and finish what we started?” Jessica, with a half hearted smile, couldn’t refuse him or ignore his good mood.
The next morning Jason had risen at his usual time and was rushing through his routine eager to get to the office. Jessica was usually the first to leave the house but today Jason had walked out, bagel in hand, just before she did.
The day was busy, filled with researching file after file for a case Jessica was assisting on at the law firm she worked at. It may not be a big case like the Dawson case but it was important to her all the same. Finally deciding to take a break and head out to lunch Jessica was a little saddened that she had not heard from Jason all morning. Needing to hear a friendly voice before falling deeper into the dumps she decided to call her brother to check up on him and the family. The familiar teasing voice answered almost immediately.
“Jess, surprised you tore yourself away from the honeymoon suite so soon,” Jackson laughed.
“Don’t be crude, Jax. I just wanted to see how you guys were doing.”
“Good, we are great actually. The doctor said the baby is doing well, no early contractions. Jane’s blood pressure has been good although she still refuses to let me help her out more around here. Summer,” he chuckles, “she’s a whirlwind. Since she started crawling she’s all over the place. Jibber jabbers non-stop.”
Jessica laughed delighted to hear the good news. “Awe, I miss her so much. I was thinking about going for a visit for a couple of days.”
“Sure, anytime, Sis, you know you’re always welcome. Is your hubby coming with you?”
“No,” trying not to sound too disappointed, “he has to work. That’s actually good news. Jason is working on the Andrew Dawson case.”
“Wow, good for him. He must be ecstatic. How do you feel about it?” Jackson always could tell what mood his sister was in, it was like a six sense for all the Tramane siblings.
“I’m thrilled of course…”
“Sure you are. Come on, give it up, Jess. What’s bothering you? I can hear it in your voice so spill it,” he demanded.
With a heavy sigh and feeling a little ridiculous for feeling this way in the first place the words started to tumble out. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I should be happy about this but I’m not. He just got the news yesterday and already he’s beginning to get wrapped up in it.”
“Jess…” he started.
“I know, I know. It’s silly of me, I know. But we usually make sure to call when running late after work and yesterday Jason didn’t get home until after eight. He didn’t return any of my calls or messages,” Jessica exhaled loudly becoming incensed once more over last night.
“What did he say when he finally got home? Did he have a good explanation?” Jackson started to feel his sister’s anger himself. Maybe he should have a word with his new brother-in-law. Let him know no matter how many miles away he was from his sister he still had his watchful eye on him.
“That’s just it, he didn’t say anything. Well, just that he was going over the case with his boss. He didn’t apologize, didn’t notice how worried I had been, nothing. And today I haven’t heard one peep from him. I know this is a big deal for him but I just hope it doesn’t change him.”
“You think it’s going to go straight to his head then?”
“No…well maybe a little. I just don’t want him to become like dad. No time for anyone, work first, then social obligations next. I know I must sound crazy since it’s only just happened but you know how I get when my intuition kicks in.”
“Hmm,” was his only response knowing all too well what she was referring to. Jessica’s intuition was usually spot-on. This disturbed Jackson more than he wanted his sister to know. He knew exactly what she was talking about. If this was bothering her then it was bound to get worse.
“Anyway, I thought I would fly out for a visit since this is going to occupy most of Jason’s time. And I want to be there when my new niece is born. Jane is going to have her hands full with the baby and Summer….and of course then there’s you,” she joked trying to change the subject. Enough of this depression she was working herself into. It was a happy time in her life. She just needed to stay positive.
“What do you mean me? I’ll have you know I am fully recovered,” he said matter-of-factly.
“Really because last I heard from Will, Jane had her hands full with double diaper duty.”
“Diaper duty! Really sis, rest assured that I can handle my, uh, needs on my own.”
They both laughed. “I’m glad you’re doing better, Jax. I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost you again,” she said becoming somber.
“Come on, Jess. You know I won’t go down without a fight. Look how long it took me to get where I am, you think I could just give up on that?” Jessica knew he was referring to Jane. Her brother had been a player, a real ladies man, before Jane. He was lucky to find her. Smart enough to fight to hold onto her when their relationship looked bleak. And of course Summer came along so quickly and really put things into perspective for him. Jackson had finally realized what he wanted in life. It’s the same way she feels about Jason. Hopefully he doesn’t lose sight of that.
“I’m so thankful that you finally found happiness. So, I’ll let you know when I plan to be there. I’ll talk to you later, lunch is almost over. I have files upon files waiting for me on my desk.”
“Alright sis, call me if you need anything, even just to talk. I love you, you know?”
She smiled at that. “I love you too big brother. And thanks for listening. I feel much better just getting it out there.”
“Anytime Jess. And make sure you tell Jason diapers or not, I’ll still pound him senseless if he gets out of line,” he said joking but vowing to stand by her and protect her just like when they were kids.
“Bye sis,” he said with a small chuckle.
“Bye,” she chuckled back.
Jessica definitely felt a lot better after talking to her brother. She had definitely missed that during the time when they had lost contact with one another. When he had left home for college, right after the fallout with their parents, they had lost all communication with him. Jessica always wanted to look Jackson up, especially when she had left for college herself, but so much time had passed. She wasn’t sure if he would welcome her attempts or not. Ten years had passed when one day out of the blue she received a call from him, in Italy of all places. He was there on business with Jane. That’s where their romance started…how romantic. Jane was really good for her brother.
Finally back at her desk, Jessica was forcing the positive attitude to stay with her as she hesitantly checked her messages then emails. Releasing the sigh of breath she hadn’t realized she was holding, as she slumped back against the chair. There was nothing from Jason. He hadn’t even called or texted her on her cell. Jessica’s attitude was now altered into irritation as she shoved her cell phone into her desk drawer not wanting to even look at it. Instead she threw herself into researching the files once again.
A quarter after four Spencer walked into the office and it was the first time she noticed how much time had passed since lunch. Spencer Harvey was Jessica’s boss at Burke, Hardam and Williams and was just stopping in to check if her research had turned up anything new for the case he was working on. He was due in court in two weeks so it was now critical if they hoped to find any additional evidence or information to win this case.
“Hi Jess, any luck today?” Spencer asked as he walked into the office and sat across from her.
“No,” she said a little discouraged, “not yet, but I’m sure something will turn up.”
“That’s what I like about you, never give up. Well, I’m heading out. I have to go see Monica Trimble again. I hope she decides to come forward and give her testimony. We really need this.” Spencer Harvey looked doubtful but he, like Jessica, never gave up until he had what he wanted. She admired him for that. He had become a great mentor since she was hired on.
“Well good luck. I’m sure she will change her mind,” Jessica assured him.
“If you find anything let me know. Any little thing helps and if I tell Monica we have the extra leverage I’m sure she will cave in.”
“I’m on it, Spence. I’ll call you as soon as something turns up.”
Knowing Jason was going to be late again tonight, intuition again, Jessica decided to stay at the office to continue her research. If Jason did go home on time she was sure he would call to find out where she was. File after file, page after page, then after the sun had begun to set Jessica finally came across some information that would be useful…very useful. She jumped up in such a hurry her chair flew back crashing into the cabinet behind her as she rushed to scan the document to send over to Spencer. Once that was done she called him immediately with the good news.
“Jess, you are amazing!” Spencer’s excitement over the information was understandable. This would give him the leverage he needed to get Monica Trimble’s testimony and to win the case. “Great job, I knew you would find something for me. Tomorrow make reservations for Friday at that Japanese restaurant off of Wilshire. I’m taking you out for lunch. Now go home before your husband thinks I’ve kidnapped you,” he joked.